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2012 Conservation Awards - Celebrating Watershed Heroes

Conservation Awards logoLSRCA Honours those making a positive difference in our environment

NEWMARKET – November 1, 2012 –Each year the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA)  honours individuals, businesses or groups within our watershed, who are making small changes that add up to big differences - one step at a time.

"We present these Conservation Awards to recognize and celebrate our watershed heroes - the individuals and groups who demonstrate that by working together, we can find a true sense of balance where human needs can be satisfied without sacrificing our natural environment," said Mayor Virginia Hackson, LSRCA Chair.

This year's top honour goes to John Sibbald of Georgina.  Mr. Sibbald, President and Chief Executive Officer of the historic lakeside resort The Briars, has long been involved in the conservation and preservation of lake and land as well as historic buildings and landmarks. This life-long commitment made him an excellent choice for the George R. Richardson Conservation Award of Honour.

"Mr. Sibbald has poured a lifetime of passion and energy into environmental advocacy and policy development. He truly is a hero and has made life in the Lake Simcoe watershed, and Canada as a whole, better because of his leadership and commitment," said Chair Hackson.

Recognizing the importance of engaging youth in conservation efforts, each year LSRCA presents the Ernie Crossland Young Conservationist Award to an individual, or in some cases a group, who are 30 years of age or younger and have a significant leadership role in a conservation project or with a conservation-based organization. This year, LSRCA honoured Matt Stergiou from Bradford West Gwillimbury.

Additionally, LSRCA handed out 27 awards in the categories of Water Conservation; Soil Conservation; Education; Media Recognition, Conservation Award of Merit and Volunteer Recognition.

See below for list of award recipients and details about their projects.

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Media Contact:
Kristen Yemm
Manager, Corporate Communications
Phone: 905-895-1281 ext. 315

Our mission is to provide leadership in the protection and restoration of the environmental health and quality of Lake Simcoe and its watershed with our community, municipal and other government partners.

Backgrounder - 2012 Conservation Award Winners

Award nominations were based on conservation projects completed August 2011 to July 2012.

List of winners and their conservation projects. (179k/11p)

George R. Richardson Conservation Award

Winner of the lifetime achievement George R. Richardson Conservation Award of Honour in 2012 is John Sibbald, the President & Chief Executive Officer of the historic lakeside resort, The Briars, located in Georgina. Mr. Sibbald has long been interested and involved in the conservation and preservation of lake and land as well as historic buildings and landmarks.

The Briars, a family run business, is located on the shore of Lake Simcoe and has long been viewed as a stellar example of conservation and protection of the local environment and the lake.  As a Heritage Ontario lakeside resort, The Briars has benefitted from John's lifetime of dedication to creating a refuge of relaxation and hospitality for people as well as a natural haven for wildlife and waterfowl.

After a lifetime of passion and energy poured into the pursuit of environmental business practices, local habitat enhancement, provincial, national and international leadership in environmental advocacy and policy development, the Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation appointed John Sibbald an honorary lifetime member of its Board of Directors.

Conservation Award of Merit

The Conservation Award of Merit goes to Catherine and Jeffrey Webb of Georgina, for their donation of 41 acres of provincially significant wetland that is part of the Holland Marsh Wetland Complex.

Ernie Crossland Young Conservationist Award

The Ernie Crossland Young Conservationist Award goes to Matt Stergiou of Bradford West Gwillimbury. Matt played a significant leadership role in environmental and conservation based projects including: climate change presentation to over 5,000 students across the watershed and province; youth reporter with Environmental Defence;  advocate of reusable water bottles in his high school and organizing an eco gala at his high school.

Water Conservation Awards

Water Conservation Awards are presented to those who completed a project that improves water quality and wildlife in our watershed. This year the LSRCA honoured:

Recipient City/Town Project
Township of Brock Brock Shoreline and beach clean ups
Bayshore Village Association Ramara Shoreline restoration
ReWilding Keswick Creeks Georgina Innovative stewardship program to improve water quality
Our Lady of the Lake Catholic College School Georgina Tree planting and installation of native species garden through ReWilding Keswick Creeks program
Pine Beach Land Owner's Association Georgina Shoreline restoration through ReWilding Keswick Creeks program
Elmhurst Beach Association Georgina Shoreline restoration
Mill Run Golf Course Uxbridge Natural channel design to take a pond offline and riparian planting
Irene & Gene Grabowski Georgina Erosion Control and naturalization of a watercourse
Town of Newmarket Newmarket Storm Water Management Pond upgrade
Town of Innisfil Innisfil Planting of naturalized buffers along waterways flowing through Innisfil Beach Park
Dufferin Marsh Collaborative King Restoration of wetland habitat
Elizabeth Wilson Newmarket Stabilization of watercourse

Soil Conservation Awards

Soil Conservation Awards are presented to individuals and groups who completed a project that improves soil, vegetation and wildlife. This year's awards go to:

Recipient City/Town Project
The Barron Family King Planting of 5,200 tree seedlings on family farm
Tim Thompson King Planting of 7,450 tree seedlings on farm property
Kathryn Clark King Planting of 10,250 tree seedlings on farm property
Martin & Maria Bonigut Bradford West Gwillimbury Planting of 700 native shrubs and 350 live stakes on farm property
Jim Craigmyle Bradford West Gwillimbury Wetland cleanup and planting of 235 native trees

Education Awards

LSRCA granted four Education Awards this year. The Ladies of the Lake, Alliance for a Better Georgina and The Committee to Establish an Ontario Water Centre for Innovation, all based in Georgina, are recognized for the SPLASH! Floating Water Festival – an innovative, multi-media celebration of and education on Lake Simcoe.

Cathy Nesbitt of Bradford is recognized for the education of students and adults on vermicomposting and waste reduction.

Media Recognition Award

The Media Recognition Award goes to Julia Bachelor the Producer of A Greener York brought to you by PowerStream on Rogers which has highlighted work of LSRCA as well as many other environmental topics throughout the watershed.

Special Volunteer Recognition

In addition to saluting individuals, businesses, corporations and community groups at the Annual Conservation Awards Ceremony, the Conservation Authority also recognizes the extra effort of volunteers:

Sylvia Bowman of East Gwillimbury is honoured for her volunteer work with many committees including the Maskinonge River Recovery Project, Scanlon Creek Collaborative and the York-Simcoe Naturalists.

Lorrie Mackness of East Gwillimbury is recognized for volunteer work with many committees including Chair of the Maskinonge River Recovery Project, East Gwillimbury Trails Committee, York Environment Stewardship Council and the Ontario Trail Council. 

Conrad & Nancy Heidenreich of Innisfil are recognized for their work with many conservation projects and organizations including the Butternut Recovery Program, Birds Study Canada monitoring, invasive species monitoring and control, shoreline restoration projects. Nancy was also an active member of Ladies of the Lake.

 Ted Bomers of Newmarket is recognized for his work as the Chair of the Bogart Creek Restoration Committee, since its beginnings in 2004.